Wednesday, 31 January 07
In the light of the morning sun the small bordertown of Ekok seems even more hopeless than in the dust and smoke of the night. Car wrecks are left behind at the side of the road and the calls of the money changers sound through the damp jungle air as they see big business in every white man.
Today one of the most fastidious and difficult roads of Africa lies ahead. We will go from Ekok to Mamfe and then on to Bamenda. This road has a length of approximately 200 kilometers and leads through the dense rain forest, thereby it represents the only connection between Nigeria and Cameroon in the south.
The piste, with its meter-deep holes and ruts, partly reminds of an artillery target area. The Gods must be more than benevolent to me that the rainy season has not arrived yet. With real tropical rainfalls the fun is over at such passages. Then there is no progress for a motorcycle any more.
In this part of Cameroon people still live in remote bush villages and eat what the jungle has to offer.
Driving salesmen are the only connection between the small villages and their cars somehow remind me of an early episode of Starwars.
In the evening and after 10 hours of hard work this section is finally done.
Briefly before dusk creeps in we reach the town of Bamenda. And thatís what you look like when you ride a motorcycle through the jungle all day long.
Thursday, 1 February 2007
In Bamend we immediately go to the insurance. The Card Brune, which is good for the West African countries, does not work in Central Africa any longer and we must buy a new bike insurance. The so called Yellow Card is valid all the way down to the† Congo. Now we are legal again and can drive on.
The road leads through† beautiful mountains and because of the altitude you hardly feel the proximity to the equator and the rides are great.
Friday, 2 February 07
After a cool night in the mountains we start out into the light of the warm morning sun. Todayís journey leads over the central mountains down to the seaport of Duala. The closer we come to the sea, the more stifling and humid the climate becomes.
In the afternoon we drive into the small fishing village of Limbe. This place lies in a beautiful and lonely bay.
The locals walk their cattle over the roads and the heat squeezes out the sweat from every pore.
We find a small hotel at the sea and decide to spend some days here. In the evening we meet other travelers as well as a girl from Columbia who works for UNICEF. We speak, like so often when conversations develop in Africa, about development aid and the missmanagement of many African states.
Saturday, 3 February 2007
Today I go for a run first. On beautiful bush paths I run through the heat for nearly two hours. Very much to the pleasure of the children, who accompany me like everywhere.
Later today I do some routine maintenance work on the bike and therby I pleasantly notice that the bell-like noises in my right cylinder disappeared. Here the fuel seems to be better and the engine runs normal again. By the bad and mixed fuel in Nigeria, I had concerns to be close to an engine break down.
In the evening we go to a nice fish restaurant directly at the beach.
For approximately 4 euro a whole Baracuda is the deal and it tastes more than only good!
Sunday, 4 February 2007 until Tuesday, 6 February 2007
Only three words. The big Chillout!
Wednesday, 7 February 2007
Today we continue to Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon. As we drive off in the morning, I notice that my eye inflammation apparently returned again.
The thing seems to turn into a serious problem. In the afternoon I must state that my right eye has got 30 to 40%! less visual efficiency!
By the evening I can hardly read the headlines of a newspaper. I assume that I got a virus or bacteria infection and will visit the hospital tomorrow. I must say, if you feel that you are loosing your eyesight it is not a pleasant experience. Particularly not on a motorcycle journey in the middle of Africa.
We spend the evening in the Presbitarien mission of Yaounde in a beautiful old house.
With all the bricks and the wood it reminds me strongly of my house in Austria.
Thursday, 8 February 2007
This morning I go to the hospital. I will visit the doctor to have my eyes checked. My visual efficiency did not improve up to now and I hope, the problem can be solved with antibiotics.
A hospital in Cameroon is typically different from a hospital in Europe.
Since there is no health system, one must pay a consultation fee directly at the entrance. That makes about 5 Euros. Afterwards you are send to the patientís admission and must report your health problems .
Additionally another sheet is filled out, which asks some more questions. As the nurse ask me about my home village and I answer Vienna/Austria, she asks me in all seriousness to which tribe I belong there.
My answer, that there are no tribes in Austria like in Cameroon really seems to surprise her then.
In the practice of the optician I first must perform an eye test. With my inflamed right eye I already fail terribly with the larger letters. The other patients laugh and try to help me with gesticulations.
A little later I see the doctor. He examines my eyes with some equipment from the† 60's and states that my eye is inflamed.
I ask for the extent of the inflammation and whether the retina became detached. Whereupon he answers that the inflammation is clearly recognizable and that I should start a therapy with antibiotics.
That I would have said as well, I only hope that no retinal detachment is on its way, which would continue to worsen my visual efficiency.
Tomorrow I shall come back for a check, hopefully at least the inflammation is better then.
The rest of the day I spend with the use of eye drops and then I take a few pictures of Yaounde to relax a bit. Doing so I get caught by the local evangelist who is immediately convinced that Iím a spy. He threatens me to inform the police, because one of the buildings in the background allegedly represents the house of the government.
However, as I tell him about my nobel intentions and insure him that I do not plan to deviate from the path of the rigthous man on my whole trip through Africa he finally changes his mind. Additionally and to convince him totally, I recite the verse of the path of the rightous man from Ezechiel 25/17, also known from Pulp Fiction.†
Friday, 9 February 2007
In the morning I go to the hospital again. As the doctor checks my eyes the inflammation has fortunately got better. The eye sight is still not that good, the antibiotics drops† however had an effect. For motorcycle driving the eye sight should be ok now so we continue our trip.
The roads in the south of Cameroon are the best I have seen since Spain.
After few kilometers you nearly forget completely that you are actually in Africa and only the border post stops our quick ride to Gabon. The exit from Cameroon as well as the entry to Gabon run absolutely unproblematically and friendly. Here in the south itís hard to imagine how bad the roads are in the north of the country.